This paper studies happiness in the United States and Great Britain. Reported levels of well-being have declined over the last quarter of a century in the US; life satisfaction has run approximately flat through time in Britain. These findings are consistent with the Easterlin hypothesis [Nations and Households in Economic Growth: Essays in Honour of Moses Abramowitz (1974) Academic Press; J. Econ. Behav. Org., 27 (1995) 35]. The happiness of American blacks, however, has risen. White women in the US have been the biggest losers since the 1970s. Well-being equations have a stable structure. Money buys happiness. People care also about relative income. Well-being is U-shaped in age. The paper estimates the dollar values of events like unemployment and divorce. They are large. A lasting marriage (compared to widowhood as a ‘natural’ experiment), for example, is estimated to be worth $100,000 a year.
Blanchflower, D. G., & Oswald, A. J. (2004). Well-being over time in Britain and the USA. Journal of public economics, 88(7-8), 1359-1386.